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Ramona Hill Back With A Vengeance

Published: August 21, 2020 6:33 pm ET

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On Friday (August 21) Ramona Hill made her first on-track appearance since winning the 2020 Hambletonian, and she was just as impressive as she was in that stakes record million-dollar victory.

Facing a compact but highly-talented group in the $160,140 Zweig Filly Memorial Trot at Vernon Downs, Ramona Hill was sent off as the 1-5 favourite and she did not disappoint her connections or her backers. With driver Andy McCarthy at the controls, Ramona Hill fronted the field through fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:24.3 before sprinting home in an unstressed :27.2 under a hand drive to win in 1:52. Hypnotic AM (Brian Sears) sat the pocket throughout but could only get to a length of the leader at the wire, with Tricky Sister (Jason Bartlett) grabbing show dough. Second choice Sorella broke at the start of the race was never in contention.

Trained by Tony Alagna, Ramona Hill (Muscle Hill - Lock Down Lindy) picked up her 10th win in 12 lifetime starts for owners Brad Grant of Milton, Ont., Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, N.Y., Robert Leblanc of Austin, Tex. and In The Gym Partners of Staten Island, N.Y. The win lifts her career earnings over the $1.2 million threshold.

One race later, Ready For Moni made Vernon Downs history in the $330,000 Harry M. Zweig Memorial Open Trot.

Big Oil (Andy Miller) and King Alphonso (Dexter Dunn) left alertly from the outside for position with the two favourites -- even money Back Of The Neck (Scott Zeron) and 3-5 Ready For Moni (Matt Kakaley) -- settling into third and fourth, respectively. The opening quarter was reached in a sharp :26.4 and Miller tried to slow the tempo through that second quarter, but Zeron made his move for the lead with Back Of The Neck. That outer flow rush was successful as Back Of The Neck made front before the :56 half but was immediately confronted by Kakaley and Ready For Moni. The favourite cleared to the lead and hit the third station in 1:23.1, with the front pair starting to separate from the rest of the field.

Turning for home, Zeron angled for a stretch drive rally but Ready For Moni was ready for battle and repelled the late push to win by two lengths in a lifetime best and track record 1:51.1. King Alphonso completed the triactor.

Ready For Moni has only lost once in four sophomore starts, and that was to Ramona Hill in the 2020 Hambletonian where the Ready Cash - Nothing But Moni colt was a solid runner-up finisher for trainer Nancy Takter and owners John Fielding of Toronto, Ont., Lindy Farms Of Connecticut, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, Fl. and Bud Hatfield of Columbus, Oh. The winner's share of the purse gives Ready For Moni $764,020 in earnings from 12 starts.

Two-year-old trotting colts Ambassador Hanover ($3.10, Ake Svanstedt) and Ahundreddollarbill ($2.80, Jason Bartlett) each nabbed New York Sire Stakes wins on the Zweig undercard.

Undefeated Ambassador Hanover went straight to the front in the $51,300 first division but Black Tie Bash (Brian Sears) took over the top spot and led to the first quarter in :28. He slowed things down using a :30.1 second quarter to hit the half in :58.1 and continued on the lead to hit three-quarters first in 1:26.1.

As the field made the turn for home, Ambassador Hanover popped out of the pocket and came charging at Black Tie Bash in the stretch. The two were slugging it out all the way down the stretch and were joined by a late bid from Dees Red Delicious (Corey Callshan), who came flying three-wide in deep stretch forcing a three-way photo finish with Ambassador Hanover picking up the win in a lifetime-best clocking of 1:56 flat. Dees Red Delicious finished second while Black Tie Bash had to settle for third.

Ambassador Hanover, now perfect in four starts, is a two-year-old colt by Chapter Seven out of Angel Eyes Hanover. He is owned by Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor, Order By Stable and trainer Svanstedt.

In the $52,200 second division, Incommunicado (Ake Svanstedt) charged to the front and put up the early fractions (:28, :57). Ahundreddollarbill made his move first-over from fourth going around the final turn while Incommunicado remained in front hitting three-quarters first in 1:26.2.

Ahundreddollarbill flew to the front as they made the turn for home. The colt just cruised down the stretch to win easily in a lifetime-best clocking of 1:56. Special Prosecutor (Brian Sears) came up to finish second and Incommunicado held on for third.

A colt by Chapter Seven out of Swinging Royalty, Ahundreddollarbill is now two-for-four in his young career. He is trained by Dan Daley for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Ann-Mari Daley and James Crawford IV.

(With files from Vernon Downs)

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